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Romance Writers Behaving Badly
Romance Lives Forever
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In this scene deleted from Surrender Love, Luc hires a decorator to redo the dungeon for Izzorah, and finds out what a small world the Tarthian Empire really is.
Luc Saint-Cyr's android butler knocked at the open door. “Sorry to interrupt, sir, but Ms. West is here to begin work on the dungeon. Shall I show her upstairs, or do you wish to speak with her first?”
“Might as well get it over with, McDoth.” He followed him downstairs to where the decorator waited.
Dark-skinned like himself, she was taller than average, attractive in a way that bespoke good grooming and business sense. Pleasantries over, he escorted her to the second floor, stopping before he opened the dungeon. Using "lover" in conjunction with Izzorah hardly seemed intimate enough a term for how he felt, but it would have to do.
“I want to create a place where my lover can practice music, or have friends in for parties. He’ll need a studio for his drums, a piano, whatever else he might like.” He unlocked the door. “Ms. Mead says you’ve converted spaces to and from this type of playroom before.”
Ms. West hugged the portable screen she carried. “I’ve worked on the playrooms at the palace, Mr. Saint-Cyr. If the Conqueror trusts me, you can, too.”
He narrowed his eyes. “That is far from true. However, if Ms. Mead trusts you, that’s saying something.” He turned on every light and stood back while the woman walked throughout the room. He tried for a time to envision the pillory, spanking bench, racks of toys, and the oversized bed from her point-of-view, but gave up. What she did or did not think of his lifestyle was her own business. Ms. Mead said the woman had impeccable credentials and understood kink. That would suffice.
The decorator returned, making notes with a stylus. “I’ll need preferences for colors, textures, and the like. Do you have an idea what you want? And do I see you or Ms. Mead for further instructions?” She looked up.
“You’ll see Izzorah Ceeow, my lover. It will be his room to do with as he pleases. He’s been ill, and will be recuperating for a few weeks. This should give him something to do that won’t overtire him. I want him to be involved in every decision he cares to oversee. I’ll sign all the bills. Just listen to him and give him whatever he wants.”
“That sounds fun.” She hugged the screen against her chest. “When will I meet him?”
“As soon as next week, hopefully.”
“That gives me time to draw up some ideas.” The woman cast one more look around her. “I’d like to bring in my droid team for measurements and such. How soon could I do that?”
“See McDoth. He’ll set up access. Your team will need to be accompanied by him at all times.”
“Of course.” She gave him a slight bow and offered her hand.
He accepted, and bowed over it. “A pleasure doing business with you.”
“I’m honored at being chosen, Mr. Saint-Cyr. You’re a legend on Kelthia. I grew up hearing about you from two of my father’s friends.”
He clasped his hands behind him. “Did you now? And who might they be?”
“My dad was in the Thieves’ Guild. He often had Gnat and Flea over for dinner, and the two of them would spin tales about you.” She dimpled a smile. “I’ve often wondered what became of them. Haven’t seen them since I left home.”
“Who was your father?”
“I use my mother’s name for professional reasons. West is already established in the design community. I work for her company. My dad was known simply as the Raven of Kelthia.”
Luc blinked. “You are the Raven’s little girl?”
She blushed. “Not so little any more.”
“No, you’re certainly not. I remember him bragging about how smart you were. I can see he was right.” He gestured toward the door. “Shall we go?”
As she was about to leave his home, she turned toward Luc. “I understand professional secrets where the guild is concerned, but do you mind telling me if Gnat and Flea are alive? When I was little, they seemed elderly. Now that I’m older myself, I realize I had a skewed vision of their ages.” She pressed her lips together. “If you can tell me, that is.”
Those things were public knowledge. Anyone could inquire after them. “Gnat is working. Flea left the guild a few years ago and took over the House of Roget.”
“The House of Roget is a children’s home, isn’t it?”
“Yes. Flea and Gnat were adopted from there by an Arcane Master Thief.” Himself, years, and years ago. The immortal Luc held the door for her. “When I see them, I’ll tell them you asked after them.”
“Thank you.” With a wave of her fingers, she was gone.
Luc shut the door and leaned against it. “Oh hell. That was the Raven’s little girl?” He covered his face with one hand. “I am so old.”
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Not rebound, payback, loneliness, or great sex, and far beyond love. This is surrender.